Indian-origin Student 'Punched, Pepper-Sprayed' While Taking Bus in Canada

"This has sent shockwaves through the community," said Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh.

South Asians
2 min read

A 17-year-old Sikh high school student was assaulted at a bus stop after an altercation with another teenager in Canada's British Columbia province, according to a media report on Thursday, 14 September. 

The incident took place on Monday, 11 September, in Kelowna at the intersection of Rutland Road South and Robson Road East, where the high school student was allegedly "kicked, punched and pepper-sprayed", CTV news reported.

“A Sikh student was either beer or pepper sprayed by another boy after exiting a public transit bus on his way home,” a statement from Kelowna RCMP read.


Before the assault, there was "an altercation" aboard a bus, which resulted in those involved being kicked off, police said.

"Several witness statements have been obtained, and the teenaged suspect in this incident has already been identified," reads a statement from Cpl. Michael Gauthier.

While police have not released more details, the World Sikh Organisation of Canada has alleged that the student was also assaulted aboard the vehicle.

"Two individuals approached the student and first barred his entry onto the bus and then, once allowing him to board, began to threaten him with a lighter and photograph and record him from a close distance with their phones," the CTV news report quoted the organisation's statement.

"Monday's attack on a Sikh high school student in Kelowna is shocking and unacceptable," Guntaas Kaur, WSO vice president for British Columbia, was quoted as saying. 

According to reports, The BC Transit spokesperson was unable to answer the question as to why the bus driver let off the victim and the alleged attackers. 

The statement further said, ' The victim was a newcomer to Canada and was now afraid to return to Rutland Senior Secondary School, where he studied, or take public transit.' 

Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh told CBC News that the student had only been in the city for around five months and spoke little English. She called the attack "totally unacceptable."

"He loves going to school. He has a great rapport with his teachers. No problem there," she said. "He is absolutely traumatized. He's in a state of shock."

"This has sent shockwaves through the community," the councillor said. "The Indo-Canadian community is shocked by this ... this is absolutely despicable."

Second Incident

This the second such instance of violence against a Sikh youth riding public transit in the city this year. 

Earlier in March, a 21-year-old Sikh student from India, Gagandeep Singh, was attacked in British Columbia province by a group of unknown men who ripped off his turban and dragged him across the sidewalk by his hair.

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